Call to Action: Tell your reps to stop the education cuts!

Problem

Governor Mitt Romney is urging the Legislature to immediately pass a bill (H2000) that will give him very broad power to cut current local aid, including state monies to local school districts, and to cut public higher education.  

Three phone calls are needed immediately.

Call 617-722-2000 or e-mail your representative and senator today (using the form below). 

Contact your local officials - mayors and selectmen - and ask them to urge legislators to oppose H2000 that will allow the governor to make cuts to education.

Message to Legislators

"Please do not pass H2000 that expands the governor's power to make cuts to public education - pre-K through graduate school."

Please read the background summary below before making your three calls.  The narrative also gives additional talking points and rationale why the Legislature should not pass this bill.  Please encourage  your colleagues, relatives and friends to also call.

Thank you.

If you have any questions, please call 1-800-392-6175, ask for the Governmental Division and check this Web site for updates.
 
Background

On Friday, January 10, Governor Romney filed a bill with the Legislature to give the governor power to make immediate cuts in local aid, including Chapter 70 funding to local school districts, and to higher education.  Under current law, the governor is prohibited from making cuts to local aid after the state budget has been enacted.  Current law is unclear as to whether the governor can unilaterally cut higher education after the state budget has passed. 

Immediately after filing the bill with the Legislature, the governor addressed the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and explained that the fiscal 2003 budget must be cut by $400 million to $600 million in order to be in balance.  The MMA represents local officials, including mayors and selectmen.  Romney said that to avoid more reductions in human services programs, which he is permitted to cut after the budget is enacted, he is seeking broader authority from the Legislature so that he can slash local aid.  The MMA voiced strong opposition to his plan.

The governor has not said exactly how much money would come from public education and how it would be divided from town to town and from campus to campus.  Some reports have stated that the cut could be up to 10 percent and taken from the fourth-quarter payment from the state.  This would mean layoffs within weeks and immediate program cuts.

Timing

  • H2000 could be passed as early as this week in the House and the Senate.
  • To have an impact for the current budget year - since more than half of FY03 is over - the governor wants to cut funding as soon as possible.
  • Urge your legislators to vote against H2000
     
    Cuts in the middle of the year wreak havoc on the programs of schools, colleges and the University. Class sizes will increase right away, programs and classes will be canceled, and teachers, faculty and staff will be laid off.
  • The Education Reform Act, passed in 1993, made a commitment to provide a high quality education to all students in the Commonwealth. To do this, the state committed to a stable funding plan. Cuts in Chapter 70 undermine that commitment.
  • Cuts in Chapter 70 will fall disproportionately on school districts where students have the furthest to go to meet the high standards set by the state.
  • Public higher education has sustained cuts of almost 10 percent in the past two years; further cuts will seriously jeopardize the quality of public higher education.

The state has other options, both short-term and long-term, to meet budget shortfalls.  Rather than cutting vital aid to public education, the state should look at using the Rainy Day Fund, other reserves and borrowing.  For the long term, the state must increase revenues by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising the income tax and sales tax.

Decisions on spending start with the Legislature, and the Legislature should not relinquish its responsibility to the governor.

So please act right away, both at the state level and locally.

Contact your local officials – mayors and selectmen – today and coordinate strategy to oppose H2000 with them.

If you have questions, please call the Division of Governmental Services at 1-800-392-6175.